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YULE TUBE: Watch Christmas TV shows online
December 18, 2008  | By Diane Werts
 

So you've searched our hundreds of holiday TV listings, and you haven't found the Christmas episode/special you're looking for. Maybe you missed it when it aired. Or you'd rather watch it on your iPod.

Try online TV. You can watch streaming shows on your computer, or download 'em to show-and-tell -- anything from South Park to It's a Wonderful Life, plus obscure old holidays from Amos 'n' Andy, Liberace and Ozzie & Harriet. Even Chrismukkah on The O.C.

Dig (digitally) and ye shall find. Below you'll find a variety of handy links to peruse. We mention a few of the shows they've got available, but trust us, there are many more to explore.

jack benny christmas tv.jpgTV4U This free streaming site may not be the prettiest, but it's got a great personality -- tons of 1950s early TV shows, even older theatrical cartoons, and more "recent" uber-bizarreness. The last category would include 1984's Scrooge's Rock 'n' Roll Christmas, with character acting legend Jack Elam giving the humbug to Paul Revere & the Raiders, Three Dog Night, The Association and other has-beens, in a sort of latter-day Where the Action Is (the afternoon on-location lip-synch show the Raiders starred on 20 years earlier). After a preroll ad -- love that Bun & Thigh Roller! -- you get vintage treasures galore. Try Jack Benny, Burns & Allen, Liberace, Howdy Doody, Annie Oakley, Betty White in Date With the Angels, and five Red Skelton holiday outings. Promised to post soon are such must-sees as a Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker televangelist holiday special (oh, Lord!), not to mention 1965's The Dangerous Christmas of Red Riding Hood, musically retelling the fairy tale with a teenage Liza Minnelli and The Animals (Eric Burdon heading the wolf pack!).

art carney twilight zone.jpgIn2TV AOL's free ad-supported streaming site is a realm of the familiar -- shows like Alice and Welcome Back, Kotter, plus TV movies like The Gathering. But it's also got some holiday oddities -- Efrem Zimbalist Jr. on the straightfaced '60s drama The FBI -- and seasonal cartoons, too.

Hulu Now we're up to the minute. Watch this year's new noels (plus ads) from 30 Rock, The Office, ER, Psych, The Bill Engvall Show and others. Plus repeat treats from Barney Miller (a Christmas classic!), ALF, Married With Children, Silver Spoons, Lou Grant, Chicago Hope, The White Shadow, and many more. There are even links to other sites' seasonal fun, like CBS' streams of Family Ties, Melrose Place, Beverly Hills 90210 and Art Carney's memorable Santa sack on The Twilight Zone (right.)

Charo Pee-Wee Christmas.pngiTunes Store You'll pay for almost everything here ($1.99 for episodes, $5-10 for specials/movies), but the ad-free downloads can be stored and watched whenever, on your iPod or computer. Goodies include Pee-wee's Playhouse Christmas (the immortal '80s hour with Cher, Charo, (right) Little Richard, k.d. lang and a cast of gazillions), A Charlie Brown Christmas, various holiday episodes (The West Wing, Grey's Anatomy, The O.C., American Chopper), even discounted theme collections ('70s shows including Eight Is Enough, '80s sitcoms including Full House, Nickelodeon toons including Rugrats).

Amazon Unbox More downloads, for either rental or purchase. Movies include A Christmas Story, It's a Wonderful Life, White Christmas, Holiday Inn and National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation. Animated specials like A Charlie Brown Christmas and How the Grinch Stole Christmas are also available. Among the many TV episodes: current faves like House and The Closer; animation from The Flintstones to The Smurfs to South Park; dramas like The Waltons and Sliders; sitcoms from Father Knows Best to Night Court.

ABC Family 25 Days of Christmas Sure, it's promotional. But along with the "sneak peek" trailers hyping current offerings, you can find full-length films (like Tom Cavanagh in Snow, Mario Lopez' Holiday in Handcuffs) and episodes (Smallville, Grounded for Life), plus animation (The Happy Elf, An All Dogs Christmas Carol). Ads pay the freight.

ozzie harriet christmas tv.jpgInternet Archive

Stream or download such golden-age TV pioneer efforts as the 1951 special Joe Santa Claus, the Studio One drama "The Nativity," Vincent Price narrating A Christmas Carol, and holiday episodes from Ozzie & Harriet, Jack Benny, The Beverly Hillbillies and, yes, the kid-with-a-gun Dragnet. Search "Santa Claus" to find Santa Claus Conquers the Martians. All free, and transferrable to iPod or other device.

amos andy christmas.jpgTVparty This fab site's Xmas TV page offers reminiscences and clips from rareties like Amos 'n' Andy, even Menotti's groundbreaking 1951 TV opera Amahl and the Night Visitors. Scroll down the page to find links to tributes to Christmas specials, holiday commercials, TV versions of A Christmas Carol, the yule log, and many more holiday memories. Plus a taste of local celebrations on shows like New York's legendary kidfest Wonderama.

 
 
 
 
 
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